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USHG’s New Auction Already Has a $10K Bid for a Weekend With Chip and Joanna Gaines

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Plus, chefs from top NYC restaurants are turning to private chef gigs for wealthy New Yorkers — and more intel

Build Presents Chip & Joanna Gaines Discussing Their Book “Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff”
USHG is auctioning off a weekend planned by HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines
Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic

USHG is auctioning off more hot-ticket items for its employee relief fund

Union Square Hospitality Group — the restaurant group that runs places like Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe — is back to selling hot-ticket items to raise money for its employee relief fund. The restaurant group’s second auction includes a weekend stay in Waco, Texas organized by HGTV Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, a Zoom cocktail session with USHG CEO Danny Meyer and Ina Garten, and a weekend in Copenhagen with the team from René Redzepi’s two-Michelin-starred Noma.

The current bid on the weekend with the Gaines is already at $10,100 and includes a stay at the couple’s Magnolia vacation rentals, lunch at their restaurant, Magnolia Table, and a meet and greet with the couple. The Noma bid is currently at $10,000 and includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the critically-acclaimed restaurant, a tour of Copenhagen bakery Hart Bageri, and sightseeing in the city as well.

Other items in this auction include a chance to cook with Food52 co-founder Amanda Hesser, a cape designed by Dapper Dan for Gucci that was worn by Billy Porter, and a virtual potluck with TV show host Ali Rosen. In its first auction, USHG raised more than $300,000, a representative for the company tells Eater, and among the top selling items were a dinner with Meyer at Union Square Cafe. The current auction will remain live through May 7, at 9 p.m.

Top NYC restaurant groups like Momofuku and Make It Nice have also been auctioning off items worth tens of thousands of dollars to support their employees, selling home cooked meals from David Chang and Daniel Humm. The large sums show that even in a crisis, those with star power and clout can collect more cash.

In other news

— Chefs from top NYC restaurants like Per Se, Eleven Madison Park, and Gramercy Tavern — who lost their jobs because of the pandemic — have now started working as private chefs for wealthy New Yorkers.

— Top Korean fried chicken destination Pelicana has opened a new location in Hell’s Kitchen at 641 Tenth Avenue, between West 45th and 46th Streets, for delivery and takeout only. Pelicana has seven other locations in NYC.

— Williamsburg winemaker Brooklyn Winery is hosting virtual tasting events every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on Facebook, and selling its wines for delivery only. An order of three or more bottles gets customers free shipping in all five boroughs.

— Bronx-based tamale restaurant City Tamale has become a go-to spot for essential workers in Hunts Point.

— Some black-owned small businesses like Harlem southern restaurant Melba’s are turning to turning to not-for-profit lenders to stay afloat during the ongoing crisis as they continue to wait for federal funding.

— New York State won’t enforce its plastic bag ban until June 15. It was set to go into effect April 1, but has been pushed back due to the pandemic.

— Some NYC grocery stores have quietly begun conducting tests for COVID-19 as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to expand testing in the state.

— Monday aspirations:

Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.